I always laugh when I read this essay, because it perfectly captures my mystification sitting in Frau Gunhilde Brakas' German class in high school, and I thought a bit of humor might lighten everyone's day

The Awful German Language by Mark Twain


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Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. Robert Barricklow on September 2, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I remember my first year of German in college.

    Those were the good old days.
    Glad they’ll never come again.

  2. Enlil's a Dog on September 2, 2012 at 8:45 am

    If Mr Twain thought German was bad enough, then he should perhaps have had a crack at Russian lol..

    I have a good working knowledge of both Russian and German and I can categorically tell everyone that if one can master Russian, then Sumerian should be a piece of cake 😉

  3. Maxim k. Rice on September 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

    In my undergraduate engineering studies I took a year of “scientific” German. I never knew single words could get so long! We had to do lots of oral translations in class, and I always hated to hear that booming voice: “Herr Rice!”

  4. Hal Hichler on September 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I remember dating an Austrian girl years ago and as pretty as she was, whenever she whispered sweet nothings into my ear, it just didn’t quite put me in the mood. Maybe I watched too many episodes of Hogan’s Heroes as a kid and I associate German accents with soldiering. I had to encourage her to kiss more and talk less. It really isn’t a romance language.

    Everything I know about Germany I learned from Hogan’s Heroes. Who says tv is all bad.

    • Hal Hichler on September 2, 2012 at 6:48 am

      no offense Larry. I love Germany and the German/Austrian people.

      • LSM on September 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        I don’t know how you managed to source me on this commentary- as far as I know I’m the the only ‘Larry’ on this blog- first of all I’m a former NE Ohioan of Austro-Hungarian decent now living for a long time in Germany-

        I could give a shit about what one thinks about my heritage, present location or validity of my comments- I’ve been delt a deck of cards in my life and try to discard jokers for the aces- and I try to deal with it on a daily basis sorting out fake hearts, possible clubs on the head, unreachable diamonds and a whole host of black spades that may at some time reveal themselves as a stupid Canasta game-

        hey, baby, if you really want to talk and face reality just give me your real Email address- honey, I lost my political virginity on 9/11- and it’s been an ever upward battle since then- not with you?- if not you need to go back to “Life 101”-

        many regards and with respect-


        • LSM on September 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

          look, Hal, I apolize profusely for sounding (writing) so agressively but it just drives me nuts to see all who are analyzing pixels but can’t put the dots together to form a complete picture- please forgive my weakness in failing to support the Pilsbury dough-boy knowing what kind of wheat flower it’s made of-


          • Robert Barricklow on September 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

            Haven’t read writing(sounding) like that since “Red Planet Noir” by D. B. Grandy.
            I like it.

          • Hal Hichler on September 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

            Wow Larry. You’ve given me a lot to digest. Who would think the internet with all its anonymity could be as socially awkward as junior high school? I will examine my hubris as well as my possible ignorance of the big picture. How peculiar it is that we strive to uncover the thoroughly inscrutable mundane world and perpetually seek to have experiences in the outside world, including the cyber world, when at the end of the day it is all folly and it will provide very few real answers. Thank you for the harsh but necessary reality check.

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